Upper Eagle Lake, 10/07/2011-10/08/2011

In lieu of a proper entry (apologies again), I present the contents of my journal and selected photographs:

Eagle Lakes

I-90 -> 970 -> 97 -> US2/97 -> L on WA153N -> L on Gold Creek -> L on 4340 -> L on 4340(300) -> Eagle Lake Trail 431

15:25 – Leave trailhead
16:20 – Martin Crk int. Larches across valley look awesome! Tired. 2 dayhikers, 1 moto.

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Back down the valley.

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View across the valley: peaks, snow and larches.

18:30 – Upper Eagle lake — 1-3″ snow; followed footprints. Went upshore and found no campsites (main taken). Ended up in horse camp. Ate beef stroganoff, chocolate, scotch.

10/08

Up at 06:00 — slept poorly; was warm enough, but couldn’t get comfy. Very quiet. Amount of snow makes me worried about loop trip [that I’d planned on].

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Sunrise at Upper Eagle Lake.

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Larches.

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The morning lake.

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More of the same.

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Oooh.

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Heading out; blue skies.

08:45 – Leaving camp; heading home.
10:35 – Martin Crk Int.
11:20 – Car
11:30 – Leave

As is often the case, a few more photos here.

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Duckabush River, 06/25/11

I spent the better part of a week in June all alone at home, with both Nicole and Adelaide back in Wisconsin, where they remained after the three of us flew out last-minute to visit my Grandpa in the hospital.  Evenings were quiet; I vacillated between missing my three-and-a-half-month-old daughter fiercely and reflecting on the time I spent with my Grandpa in my youth and as I grew up and moved away from home.

I did plan, though, on taking advantage of this time alone by doing something.  While a backpack sounded good in theory, I knew that I was out of shape, out of practice, and unprepared even as the weekend approached.  So I thought a day spent walking along a river would do well for me—I’d stroll along leisurely, set up my tripod liberally, and see how far I got up the Duckabush River before turning around and heading home.

A detail of the Duckabush River.

I like driving over to the Olympic Peninsula early in the morning: down through Olympia, up along the Hood Canal with the cruise control set just right until you begin passing through all the small towns with their pickup trucks driven out onto the saltwater flats the tide has revealed.

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Klapatche Park, 07/24/10-07/25/10

When I first flipped through my copy of 50 Hikes in Mount Rainier National Park and saw Ira Spring’s photograph of Klapatche Park, the destination shot to the top of my to-hike list. And like most locations on my to-hike list, it just stayed there. I was reminded of it again last year, while watching The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, which briefly flashed another Ira Spring photograph of the same location, this one from many years earlier.

The problem is, Klapatche Park isn’t all that easy to get to. In the not-too-distant past, one could park their car within three miles of it, but the road washed out twenty-one years ago and left the western side of The Mountain more isolated than most of the rest.

After walking the more recently decommissioned Carbon River Road earlier this year, I decided that it was time to walk the Westside Road and visit the fabled Klapatche. The weekend’s weather would be perfect, and from what I’d read on the Mt. Rainier National Park website, snow levels seemed pretty favorable, too.

This trip would be solo.

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Lower Ice Lake, 08/27/09-08/29/09

Somehow, I found myself with an extended weekend at the very end of August; Nicole didn’t.  Thus, the table was set for my Second Annual Solo Backpacking Trip, a trip set to coincide with my twenty-ninth birthday.  Certain conditions were to be met.  The hike couldn’t be too high on our must-do list, because Nicole wouldn’t be along to enjoy it.  I also wanted something that would challenge me.  And why not make something that’s a little further away than our normal weekend overnighter?

In the end, I decided on Ice Lakes, via the Entiat River.  100 Hikes… put the round-trip mileage at ~28 and recommended allowing 3-5 days.  Ice Lakes were on my list, and the criterion fit.  I’d be carrying a heavy backpack (~45lbs) but reasoned that the elevation gain would be spread over so much mileage that it’d be no problem.  More training for the Canadian Rockies!  My itinerary was flexible: I’d leave Thursday, make the lakes Friday, spend Saturday exploring or summiting Mt. Maude, and return Sunday. Or, if the forecasted thunderstorms came to fruition, I might return Saturday instead.  Whatevs.

I left straight from work on Thursday around 12:30, and pulled into the trailhead parking lot at the end of Entiat River Road at 16:00.  The drive was nice, taking me past Leavenworth for the first time through Wenatchee and north along the Columbia River through an interesting landscape.  Though there were signs warning of big horn sheep crossings, I saw none.

I booted up and hit the trail at 16:20, setting a comfortably quick pace in order to put as many easy miles behind me as possible on the first day.  The trail starts off wide and dry, mixed-use as it is (hikers, horses, motorcycles).  The trees turn from somewhat unhealthy-looking to fully fire-scarred and destroyed as one makes progress down the Entiat River trail.

Evidence of a burn.

Evidence of a burn.

At 17:55, I entered Glacier Peak Wilderness, ~4.2 miles from the trailhead.  The trail narrowed.  Deer met me head-on on the trail.  The sun lowered behind the ridge to the west.  Every snap, crackle, and pop in the forest had me looking over my shoulder; I attributed each one to another deer, fearing a bear or cougar as the sounds stalked me along the trail.  I realized only later that the heat of the day had gone from the naked, burned trees.  And now they contracted in the shade like an old house in night’s silence.

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Twin Falls State Park, 02/04/09

Woke up on a Wednesday with an itch to get out for a hike and take some photos.  Since it was a last-minute decision, and it is February, I wanted to find something close.  Since I haven’t hiked in over three months, I wanted to find something easy.  A visit to Twin Falls seemed to fit the criteria.

The Twin Falls.

The Twin Falls.

Twin Falls State Park is just off of I-90 near North Bend, under an hour from Seattle.  I figured I’d take advantage of the morning’s overcast sky and take some long-exposure waterfall photos.  After packing my bag and making a sandwich, I left West Seattle at 09:00.  Forty-five minutes later I was in the parking lot, along with only four other cars–a great sight, made possible only by my midweek day off.  I was on the trail at 09:50.

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